Ecuador Cuts Off Julian Assange’s Internet Access. Again.


Two Assange supporters — the English rock musician Brian Eno and the Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis — speculated that Ecuador was reacting to tweets in which Mr. Assange criticized the Spanish government’s detention of Catalan separatists and the recent arrest, in Germany, of the separatist leader Carles Puigdemont. They called efforts to isolate Mr. Assange “appalling.”

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This was not the first time Ecuador had cut off Mr. Assange: It did so in October 2016, saying it feared being sucked into efforts to interfere in the American election.

Mr. Assange went to the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning about rape allegations. Sweden dropped that inquiry last May, saying that too much time had passed.

But Mr. Assange still faces a British charge for skipping bail and, more pressingly, fears being arrested and deported to the United States. Attorney General Jeff Sessions fueled such fears last year when he said that arresting Mr. Assange was “a priority.”

Mr. Assange, a 46-year-old native of Australia, has long been an irritant for the British authorities. A junior foreign minister, Alan Duncan, told members of Parliament this week, “It’s about time that this miserable little worm walked out of the embassy and gave himself up to British justice.”

Now, the patience of his Ecuadorean hosts appears to be wearing thin as well.

Ecuador’s foreign minister, María Fernanda Espinosa, said Wednesday that officials would meet in London next week with Mr. Assange’s lawyers to explore additional measures that Ecuador might take in connection what she called Mr. Assange’s “noncompliance” with his agreement not to meddle in foreign affairs.

“We are evaluating the measures with our lawyers,” she said. “We will explore what are the alternatives that allow us the framework of international law and our own legislation and Ecuadorean Constitution.”

She added, “The most important thing is that Ecuador maintains a dialogue with the United Kingdom to find a definitive and lasting solution to this situation that the current government has inherited.”

Her remarks alluded to the distaste that Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno, has expressed toward Mr. Assange. Although it was Mr. Moreno’s government that gave Mr. Assange citizenship, the president appeared to have done so reluctantly, and mainly out of respect for his predecessor and ally, Rafael Correa.

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